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CIN@CHC: Samardzija fans seven in solid outing

An intriguing pitching matchup was brewing as the Reds and Cubs prepared for their series opener at Great American Ball Park on Monday. Those plans were scrapped temporarily because of a rain delay and an eventual postponement, but the same cast of characters is expected back Tuesday when play resumes.

That means Alfredo Simon, who has pitched well this season and has the wins to show for it, will start for the Reds, and Jeff Samardzija, who has also pitched well but has not a single win to his name, will start for the Cubs.

Both teams are staying on point for the remaining two games.

"As it stands right now, we'll stay in order," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I don't see where it would change. We're playing 17 straight, so it gives us a chance for all of these guys to get an extra day of rest."

Simon ranks among the National League leaders with a 1.30 ERA and a .176 opponents' batting average, and all four of his starts this year have been quality. Not bad for a guy who had 99 relief appearances between his final start in 2011 and his first of '14. If he wins Tuesday, he'll have four wins in five tries.

Samardzija has capably pitched to a 1.53 ERA and, in ace fashion, is leading his team with 35 1/3 innings. But in five starts, he's received three no-decisions and two losses. The winless streak spans 11 games, dating back to last August.

Cubs: Seeing well in Cincinnati
• Luis Valbuena is hitting .370 (17-for-46) with seven doubles, three homers and eight RBIs in 13 career games at Great American Ball Park. Also, in 10 games in Cincinnati, Emilio Bonifacio owns a .345 average (10-for-29).

Reds: Votto's selectivity paying off
• Each of first baseman Joey Votto's 25 hits this season has come on a pitch that was located in the strike zone. He's the only player in the league with more than 20 hits to not have at least one on a pitch out of the zone.  

"There's no secret that it's what I'm trying to do at the plate. If the results confirm that, then I guess that's good," Votto said.

Votto entered Monday tied for first in the NL in walks and third in on-base percentage.

Worth noting
• Reds pitcher Mat Latos, trying to return from a flexor mass strain in his right arm, long tossed from 90 feet on Monday. He could be back on a bullpen mound within a week.

• Reds infielder/outfielder Skip Schumaker began a rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Louisville.

• The Cubs' bullpen enters Tuesday's game looking to put up zeros for the fourth consecutive game. If successful, it would be the first time the relief corps had four scoreless games since last July 25-28, totaling 9 1/3 innings. Comments